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Subject: Common Area Water Runoff Onto My Property (Virginia)
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LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/11/2018 7:41 AM  
Hello, we sit downhill and to the side of our HOA common area. Because of common area topography and plantings (or lack thereof), all rain water runoff ends up in our neighbor's yard (which is above us and therefore eventually ends up in ours) and our yard. It is so bad we've had water infiltrate our bottom level at our sliding doors. I am a board member and the rest of the HOA agreed to examine the common area with an engineer. When the monthly meeting notes were sent out, a community member said that it is illegal to spend money on services to help one homeowner and the HOA isn't responsible unless the water is caused by a man-made structure. What are our rights? What is the HOA's responsibilities? In VA I'm pretty sure it is illegal to create a water easement onto someone else's property.
AugustinD


Posts:1785


12/11/2018 8:06 AM  
Check your governing documents for the exact wording of the maintenance responsibility of the HOA. Quote it back to the Board. The failure to maintain the common areas so there are not drainage problems is on the HOA.The HOA is legally obliged to correct encroachments from its common elements onto members' property. It could be tree roots; dust; storm water; erosion; et cetera. It does not matter how many members' properties are affected

That a member would say otherwise is the worst of HOAs. People are typically so unstudied and such amateurs. They throw their common sense out the window because maybe they have read the governing documents. Said governing documents typically has just enough legal-ese for people to be clueless on many points. What the member is thinking is that privileges may not be bestowed on one member that other members may not enjoy. Correcting something causing property damage is not bestowing a privilege, for crying out loud.

SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:120


12/11/2018 9:40 AM  
Is this a new development? How long has it been going on? Is it the result of the HOA doing something to the common area or is just the way it has always been?
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/11/2018 11:13 AM  
Thanks for the replies. When I read through the meeting notes again, which is what this person was commenting on, I saw that every townhouse on this side of the HOA hill was identified (so 5 units). This is true bc the townhouses run down a hill. We happen to be second from the top. This is not from anything new. We have lived here for 5 years but bought from my brother-in-law about 1 year ago. We have always had run off from the common area (and our neighbors) but didn't mention it, bc we didn't own. Plus we have had some incredible rain here this year. I have some excellent video of the issue...literally a waterfall down our 3 stairs from the yard to the patio coming right in our back fence which is adjacent to the common area. True about crappy neighbors...this particular one doesn't even live here. She rents her townhome out, yet she is always the most vocal...and rudest. And YES, she thinks she knows everything.
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/11/2018 11:14 AM  
Also basically our back patio is unusable bc every time it rains we get a layer of mud/silt, which we then have to clean off before use.
RoyalP


Posts:0


12/11/2018 11:30 AM  
Posted By LisaH17 on 12/11/2018 11:13 AM
Thanks for the replies. When I read through the meeting notes again, which is what this person was commenting on, I saw that every townhouse on this side of the HOA hill was identified (so 5 units). This is true bc the townhouses run down a hill. We happen to be second from the top. This is not from anything new. We have lived here for 5 years but bought from my brother-in-law about 1 year ago. We have always had run off from the common area (and our neighbors) but didn't mention it, bc we didn't own. Plus we have had some incredible rain here this year. I have some excellent video of the issue...literally a waterfall down our 3 stairs from the yard to the patio coming right in our back fence which is adjacent to the common area. True about crappy neighbors...this particular one doesn't even live here. She rents her townhome out, yet she is always the most vocal...and rudest. And YES, she thinks she knows everything.





NOW you are complaining about that which YOU purchased KNOWINGLY.


SHEEEEEEZ
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/11/2018 11:59 AM  
There are still county regulations and covenant guidelines. SHEEEEEEEZ. Also what does complaining from a renter get? Um, nothing. Shhhh.
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/11/2018 12:01 PM  
Also the runoff has become worse, bc the HOA has been paying a lawn company to re-seed twice a year, which they haven't been doing, so really what is growing there, while suppose to be grass, is not only thin, but not even grass.
RoyalP


Posts:0


12/11/2018 12:09 PM  
Posted By LisaH17 on 12/11/2018 11:59 AM
There are still county regulations and covenant guidelines. SHEEEEEEEZ. Also what does complaining from a renter get? Um, nothing. Shhhh.





Why would said renter decide to PURCHASE said property, or one similar ?

eg.

one rents a car
said car sputters and vibrates
one purchases said or similar car

THEN one complains how the car runs ?!
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8434


12/11/2018 12:13 PM  
Lisa

Tough love, but why did you buy into known problems?
AugustinD


Posts:1785


12/11/2018 12:22 PM  
Posted By RoyalP on 12/11/2018 12:09 PM

one rents a car
said car sputters and vibrates
one purchases said or similar car
THEN one complains how the car runs ?!


If there is a warranty, darn straight.

HOAs have a long warranty. It's called the CC&Rs.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1243


12/11/2018 12:43 PM  
Lisa,

Keep explaining please ... ignore the nonsense from one of the responders.
RoyalP


Posts:0


12/11/2018 2:55 PM  
George,

You are actually requesting MORE phlogiston ?!

The theory will only change and change again in the futile attempt to remain tenable.
RoyalP


Posts:0


12/11/2018 2:57 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 12/11/2018 12:22 PM
Posted By RoyalP on 12/11/2018 12:09 PM

one rents a car
said car sputters and vibrates
one purchases said or similar car
THEN one complains how the car runs ?!


If there is a warranty, darn straight.

HOAs have a long warranty. It's called the CC&Rs.






? Ever hear of "Due diligence." ?

or

CAVEAT EMPTOR
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16382


12/11/2018 3:40 PM  
Lisa,

Sorry some are not being helpful.

If Swales are not properly maintained, then water that was once diverted away from your property might now be directed toward your property. It's unfortunate, but many Associations do not think about maintaining the storm water management facilities (swales, dry ponds, rip rap, etc.). Sometimes it's due to simply not knowing about the need and other times it may be due to available funds.

I know in my Association nobody thought about the issue for 25 years. Then there wasn't money budgeted for it until 3 years ago.

If the Association isn't being helpful, you con contact the County/City who may actually do a sight visit with you. Try and gather information (videos when it's raining, videos when it's a downpour, and stills as well). This can aid everyone (even the Board) in truly understanding the situation.

Hope this helps,

Tim

TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16382


12/11/2018 4:03 PM  
I wanted to add that if you live in Fairfax County, the officials are very helpful.
AugustinD


Posts:1785


12/11/2018 4:06 PM  
Timb4 makes a good point. Where I am (which is not Virginia) and elsewhere in the United States, the plats on file with the county often have a "stormwater agreement" legally attached to the plat. Said agreement is often detailed enough to give the municipality or county authority to make things happen when storm water is not draining the way it is supposed to, due to neglect by the property owner.
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/11/2018 4:10 PM  
Well there's the fact that we purchased it for $650,000 from my brother-in-law and it was assessed at about $750,000. So you were saying?
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/11/2018 4:11 PM  
See my response to your one friend about price and assessment.
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/11/2018 4:14 PM  
Hey, John. We bought from a relative who charged us $100,000 below market value. We live in a very different type of housing market. It was worth it. Believe me. Plus as I said, the runoff has gotten worse without proper upkeep.
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/11/2018 4:15 PM  
Hi Tim, Thanks. Very helpful. I am in Northern VA, just not Fairfax.
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/11/2018 4:16 PM  
Great! Thanks!
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/11/2018 4:18 PM  
Trolls everywhere online. I guess they have nothing more constructive to do. Sad.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1243


12/11/2018 6:05 PM  
PITA,

Be helpful or go entertain yourself somewhere else.
RoyalP


Posts:0


12/11/2018 7:26 PM  
... so, their $700,000 Mcmansion on a slope gets wet whenever it rains hard just like they knew it would BEFORE they purchased

and

they, themselves, have not installed, on their OWN property, either a swale or a ditch to divert the water



W ~ T ~ F ???
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1243


12/11/2018 7:31 PM  
PITA, it is sad you must continue to entertain yourself in this manner.

LisaH, please accept at least my apology - I’ve tried for months to convince the site’s sponsor, community123, to prevent his involvement. I have been unsuccessful. Perhaps if you contacted them directly to explain what us happening on their site?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8297


12/11/2018 8:37 PM  
RoyalP your alright with me... Some people can't handle the truth... LOL!

Anyways, I've had to deal with this situation several times. Sent me to tears for years whenever it rained. We actually had 2 houses flood up to 2 feet of water in them! Water went all the way to the roadway. There was a run off pipe near the back yards. A ditch had been installed to divert the water. However, over the years it had washed down. The pipe was there to drain the water from the above neighborhood. When it rained it basically shot the water straight into the backyards of these 2 homes instead of diverting to a stream.


We had to work through ALOT of various hoops. The stream we had to go through the Corps of Engineers. Not sure all the details why but it was a protected branch that had to get permissions to do anything to it. We had to go to the City because our HOA was in the City. However, the pipe/neighborhood above was in the County. The owners could not get flood insurance because FEMA has to determine it to be in a flood plain. We are not in a flood plain as this was just water run off. Do you see the cluster? Better get your waders on and not for just the water...

There are 107 homes in the HOA. 2 of which were the only ones effected by this direct flooding issue. We did have other flooding situations but again ONLY during rain events. Which insurance doesn't cover. A few of the others were caused by neighbors lack of gutters, landscaping, or nature. Each situation has to be addressed individually.

How we ended up addressing the issue is by building a new berm and installing French drain system. It took a few attempts to get it right. The biggest hurdle was having the other homeowner's agree for the HOA to pay for the repair and agree it was the HOA's responsibility to fix. Otherwise, many may have viewed it as the owner's responsibility. It just so happens the HOA owns the land around the houses and you own the lot the house sits on. Plus it was a left over issue from the developer.


So I would say if this situation is as bad as you say, then you have 2 choices... Address the HOA and convince them that the flood problems members are experiencing is a HOA issue. Which then could mean a special assessment for ALL owner's to pay to address these issues. It also means agreeing to have a contractor hired by the HOA to do the work. So don't expect that contractor to be your PERSONAL contractor. The HOA has final say on what scope of work they want the contractor to do and to contact them.


The other choice is to apply for approval from the HOA to have the work done yourselves. They need to approve the plans and to make sure what you do doesn't effect your neighbors downhill. You may divert the water but will it cause more damage?


We had one flooding situation caused by the lack of gutters on a house. The HOA can't force someone to buy gutters on their home. They may suggest it but they can't purchase or put them on. So be aware there are situations like these that the HOA is just limited what it can do.

Former HOA President
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1243


12/11/2018 8:45 PM  
Melissa - the point isn’t how you feel, it’s how others who come here for help feel.

Lisa - given what you have heard from PITA (or whatever he is calling himself this week), does it feel positive and helpful?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8297


12/11/2018 8:56 PM  
This doesn't need to be a debate on feelings. RoyalP gives advice the way they want to do it. You don't like it then don't take it. Don't see anything wrong with RoyalP expressing themselves as they see fit. Free country.


I've seen plenty of other posters on here giving really bad advice. We are not trying to be friends with the posters. Just guiding them through experience and opinion on the best route to take to help them out.

Former HOA President
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/12/2018 2:51 AM  
Royal...technically it's a ROI on a McTownhouse you're jealous of. Now back to your mamma's basement with you!

George, no worries about idiots online. They didn't get enough attention from their parents growing up, so come online for it. (Waves to Royal to make him feel seen.) They should try leaving their parents' basements (where they are still being ignored) once in while for some sunlight. It would help with their moods.

Melissa, thanks for the information. Regarding the troll, technically he isn't giving advice. He's just making comments trying to elicit a reaction that will bring him sad joy. Doesn't bother me, but he's useless, as sadly I'm sure his parents told him over and over.
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/12/2018 3:15 AM  
Augustin, this community was built in the 1980s. I'm curious to see if there is a water mgt doc attached to plat.
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/12/2018 3:31 AM  
I meant 1960s!
RoyalP


Posts:0


12/12/2018 5:43 AM  
Lisa,

If y'all were 'built out' in the 60s-70s there most likely is NOT a 'water management' document.

Y'all are before the 'Clean Water Act' and are 'on your own'.

Here in South Carolina water (flooding) is legally termed 'the common enemy'.

We would be free to divert same off our property (without 'aiming' the discharge deliberately) w/o any regard for the downstream consequences.

Barring your ability to convince the HOA to address the issue you are free to (on YOUR property) install whatever ditch, swale, french drain, or other 'device' is required to divert water to flow AROUND your house following basically the same path it does now, but missing your home.

The principle would be similar to a 'U' shaped diversion trench around a tent pitched on a slope.

WATER DIVERSION


If you can convince the HOA to perform the work, fine, if not DIY.


BEST OF LUCK
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/12/2018 7:20 AM  
Royal!!! Is that you!!! THAT was actually helpful, if not new information to me after further research. Apparently water is a "common enemy" in Virginia too. The board is amenable to exploring their role in our problem, but the one neighbor is already complaining, although nothing has been done and no money allocated to be spent. It would help if the HOA would have maintained the "grassy" hill that is the common area. Now it is primarily forbs and exposed clay. We actually volunteer to do a lot in the common areas and community so that the HOA doesn't incur the expenses, and we just help neighbors with things in general, because we are just neighborly that way. So we do plan to reseed at our expense if the HOA won't. Supposedly reseeding is a task built into our landscaping contract, but I don't think anyone has been ensuring that it has been done. We are also thwarted by a huge tree right outside our fence belonging to the HOA, whose roots stop the natural flow of the water down the hill (there is a retaining wall for a parking lot on the other side of that tree, which also directs the water back in our direction). Basically it's a "perfect storm" right outside our gate. My husband plans on installing a french drain, although drainage may be an issue because of that tree and its roots and our neighbors' lot adjacent to us on the down side, but we were hoping to control some of the runoff before it reached us. Also when he will get around to it (since he will do it himself) is another issue. We will probably just deal with all of this ourselves to avoid the hassle. In the short-term, sand bags have worked nicely and aesthetically are a lovely addition. Ha!
RoyalP


Posts:0


12/12/2018 7:57 AM  
Posted By LisaH17 on 12/12/2018 7:20 AM
Royal!!! Is that you!!! THAT was actually helpful, if not new information to me after further research. Apparently water is a "common enemy" in Virginia too. The board is amenable to exploring their role in our problem, but the one neighbor is already complaining, although nothing has been done and no money allocated to be spent. It would help if the HOA would have maintained the "grassy" hill that is the common area. Now it is primarily forbs and exposed clay. We actually volunteer to do a lot in the common areas and community so that the HOA doesn't incur the expenses, and we just help neighbors with things in general, because we are just neighborly that way. So we do plan to reseed at our expense if the HOA won't. Supposedly reseeding is a task built into our landscaping contract, but I don't think anyone has been ensuring that it has been done. We are also thwarted by a huge tree right outside our fence belonging to the HOA, whose roots stop the natural flow of the water down the hill (there is a retaining wall for a parking lot on the other side of that tree, which also directs the water back in our direction). Basically it's a "perfect storm" right outside our gate. My husband plans on installing a french drain, although drainage may be an issue because of that tree and its roots and our neighbors' lot adjacent to us on the down side, but we were hoping to control some of the runoff before it reached us. Also when he will get around to it (since he will do it himself) is another issue. We will probably just deal with all of this ourselves to avoid the hassle. In the short-term, sand bags have worked nicely and aesthetically are a lovely addition. Ha!





Cover the sand bags with limestone chips and you will create a 'decorative berm'


ps. as you did, i purchased into a HOA - after 15 years of sweat my home is actually habitable - ain't shooting oneself in the foot fun ?!
LisaH17
(Virginia)

Posts:16


12/12/2018 11:47 AM  
Royal, we literally redid our entire former single family home (siding, systems, bathrooms, roof, sky lights, kitchen, railings, wall removals and a "voluntary" HOA...let me tell you the fun the "voluntary" added to that sh*t show of covenant enforcement...fortunately lots were much larger and wooded). A lot of the renovations were done by my husband, and then we sold to move here to care for an ailing parent. It's like starting over with the home improvements. Ex-haust-ing. We just laughed to ourselves as our new neighbors who are first time home owners complained about home ownership after about 2 months. Wait until they're 20 years in! And not a bad idea about the limestone chips! Haaa!
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3048


12/12/2018 1:36 PM  
The new so-called "action cameras", many of which are waterproof, are fairly cheap now. They're perfect for video recording of what happens during a rainstorm. You don't need the top-of-the-line brand. You can find decent waterproof models for under $100.
KatherineP2
(Florida)

Posts:1


12/20/2018 5:02 PM  
We too have this issue in Florida. Our lanai flood when it rains heavily, which is often in the summer. Our documents say that we can't change the land around our home, so it looks like it should be an HOA issue. We have others water issues in the neighborhood and nothing has been addressed in the last 25 years. Not sure how to address our HOA with this problem.
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